A shooting incident last month that forced a U.S. border patrol helicopter to make an emergency landing near Laredo, Texas, was the work of Mexican drug traffickers, and analysts say the attack highlights growing narcotics trafficking across porous U.S. borders.
According to U.S. officials familiar with an investigation of the June 5 incident, members of the Los Zetas drug cartel were crossing back into Mexico from the United States when they were spotted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) helicopter along the Rio Grande River near Laredo.
The traffickers had finished delivering a shipment of drugs and were returning to Mexico when they were spotted by U.S. agents and opened fired with automatic weapons.
The helicopter, part of USCBP’s Office of Air and Marine, was struck by gunfire on its side and on the rotor blade. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing.